Montoya puts Indy heartache behind him

July, 31, 2010

LONG POND, Pa. -- When last seen at Indianapolis, Juan Pablo Montoya was shaking his head and disappearing into his motor coach.

So how long did it take for him to get over losing a second straight Brickyard 400 that he'd dominated?

"A couple minutes," Montoya said late Friday afternoon at Pocono Raceway. "It's kind of weird because I didn't really want to talk to the media because I was just pissed off, and when you're angry you'll say something dumb and you'll regret it.

"As a team we win together, we lose together, and actually in a crazy way with myself hitting the fence helped the team win the race. It's one of those deals where you never really know who you're working for."

In case you've forgotten, Montoya was leading with 21 laps remaining when caution came out. He took four tires. Six cars -- including Earnhardt Ganassi Racing teammate Jamie McMurray, who won the race -- took two, leaving him seventh on the restart.

A few laps later Montoya hit the wall and his day was over, just as it was a year earlier when a late speeding penalty kept him out of Victory Lane.

"It's one of those deals where I think if I would have taken two tires, everybody else would have taken four and we probably would have got beat anyways," Montoya said. "It sucks. We're nowhere near the Chase, does it really matter? Somebody actually said I threw the car in the fence because I was mad and I was just trying to keep [the car] up."

That wasn't the case.

And Montoya bounced back strong Friday at Pocono, qualifying second for Sunday's race. He even got an encouraging word from pole sitter Tony Stewart before qualifying.

"He actually came before I was going to take my lap and said, 'Dude, don't worry about that last week. You're fine,'" Montoya said. "He was trying to pump me up. … That was nice."

One day soon, maybe Sunday, Montoya is going to win a race on an oval. Once he does that he may get on a roll and win several.

He's that good.

David Newton | email

ESPN Staff Writer



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